• Rebecca Ramdeholl, CHNC

Can Good Nutrition Really Improve Your Physical and Mental Strength?

Updated: Sep 7, 2018


Can Good Nutrition Really Improve Your Physical and Mental Strength?

Food is fuel—there’s no doubt about it. Eating healthy foods—those rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and other nutrients—leads to many benefits for both your mind and body. So, if you’re looking to improve your physical and mental strength, good nutrition is the way to go. Keep reading to find out how it can positively affect you.

Physical Strength


There are some days you just feel run down and unable to lift a finger. Most of us, when we feel this way, grab a soda or eat some sugary snack to get an energy boost. But, all this does is give us a temporary boost, followed by a “crash” (and causes us to crave more sugar). That’s because they are digested and release sugar into the bloodstream quickly. This causes insulin levels to spike, so we experience a high and low.

If you’d like to have high energy consistently, consider improving your diet.

A diet rich in unrefined carbs, proteins, healthy fats, whole grains and vegetables will provide you with long-lasting energy. Our body needs certain vitamins (like vitamin B), too, to help convert food into energy.

Building muscles and maintaining bones

If you’re constantly experiencing muscle pain or bone fractures, it can really limit your daily activities. But, there’s a way to maintain your physical strength. You guessed it—good nutrition.

As we age, we begin to lose muscle. But, even if you’re relatively young, you may have muscle pains or not enough muscle mass for your liking. Fortunately, there are certain nutrients you can consume to help you gain muscle mass and ease muscle pain.

Protein provides your body with the building blocks to build muscle. Of course, exercise is also required to build muscles. Protein also allows you to recover faster after working out. You can start to incorporate more protein into your diet by eating lean chicken breasts, peanuts and tofu.

On the other hand, bone health is also at risk as we age and if we are deficient in certain nutrients. Eating foods such as cheese and yogurt, which are rich in calcium, can help to prevent bone deterioration. Our bodies are consistently removing calcium from our bones and replacing it with new calcium, so we need a sufficient amount to maintain our bones.

Mental Strength


We’ve all experienced at least one night when we just couldn’t sleep well and ended up being cranky and unfocused for the rest of the day. Do you often have trouble sleeping? If so, you’re more likely to experience depression, anxiety and brain fog.

If you’ve tried everything from changing your pillows to getting rid of the television in your room, perhaps it’s time to look to your diet for the solution to your poor sleeping patterns.

When you eat a diet filled with fried foods or chocolate, you may experience heartburn. If you’re obese (and this is often due to a high-fat diet), you may have trouble breathing at night. This is a condition known as sleep apnea. These are both common ailments among Americans and they cause sleepless nights for many.

If you fix your diet, you can lose weight and manage your heartburn, allowing you to get a good night’s rest, so you can function optimally the next day.

There are even certain nutrients which promote a good sleep, including lycopene (found in grapefruit and tomatoes), selenium (found in nuts and tuna) and vitamin C (found in kale and citrus fruits).

Cognitive Functioning and the Prevention of Disorders

Good nutrition also improves cognitive functioning (i.e. recall, learning and perception) and prevents neurological disorders, such as dementia.

Here are just some examples of the nutrients we need to maintain mental strength:

  • Proteins are needed in your diet because their amino acids are used to make neurotransmitters (brain-signaling chemicals)

  • Healthy fats (such as omega-3 fatty acids) also promote cognitive functioning and prevent depression

  • Vitamin B12 maintains myelin—the white, fatty substance on your brain cells—which is needed for nerve communication

Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.


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